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Chantry botanical charms

It was already well into the mid-twenties Celsius as four of strolled out from the car park at Chantry Hill in the scorching sunshine yesterday.

Round-headed Rampion

This site is one of the finest examples of chalk grassland in Sussex and didn’t disappoint, as within just a few minutes we had already found the likes of Greater Knapweed, Fairy Flax, Wild Mignonette and Common Centaury.

Once we crossed Chantry Lane and out onto Chantry Hill proper, we started to see even more diversity in the floral display. Butterflies galore were being attracted to the many clumps of Wild Marjoram, while we also saw a Hummingbird Hawkmoth flitting around a Lady’s Bedstraw.

Dark Green Fritillaries

Further still, out to the Cross Dyke on the northern slopes, and we found our first orchids; Pyramidal at first but followed by some somewhat faded Common Spotted and Fragrant Orchids.

Pyramidal Orchid

By this point we had also been treated to wonderful views of dozens of Dark Green Fritillaries, including a pair right on the grass in front of us. In this area we also found more of our hoped-for flower species, including Round-headed Rampion, Wild Thyme and Carline Thistle. Aside from the flowers, the group also enjoyed good views of Yellowhammer, Linnet, Meadow Pipit, and Skylark and Raven in flight.

male Yellowhammer

All in all, a very enjoyable way to spend a summer’s day in Sussex

Matt Phelps


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